Scottish PSC sent the following letter to Stand Up to Racism (Scotland) on 8 March 2023.
Dear SUTR Scotland Committee Members
I would be grateful if you would confirm that the position of Stand Up to Racism is that the Confederation of Friends of Israel (COFIS) is not welcome at the upcoming SUTR demonstration in Glasgow on 18 March.
As you may be aware, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has grave concerns over the inclusion of organisations whose purpose is to advocate for and defend the actions of the state of Israel. This is the reason why we, like many other organisations, are unable to participate in the SUTR demonstrations to mark the UN anti-racism day of action.
Scottish Palestinians tell us that they are unable to participate because of the presence of Israeli flags, COFIS and its conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism. These Palestinians feel marginalised and excluded, and their struggle demeaned, by your refusal to date to make clear COFIS is not welcome but rather to accept their presence.
We are especially disappointed at SUTR’s refusal to engage constructively with us on this matter because 21 March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid "pass laws" in 1960.
There are now three internationally respected human rights organisation that have concluded that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and B’tselem). The Israeli government, which has been working with far right governments and organisations around the world for years, today is an extremist government far to the right of the political spectrum. Opposition to Israeli apartheid and steadfast solidarity with the Palestinian people should be a key component of any event that marks the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre and that seeks to eliminate racial discrimination.
I look forward to hearing from you to confirm that the position of Stand Up to Racism is that the Confederation of Friends of Israel (COFIS) is not welcome at the upcoming SUTR demonstration in Glasgow on 18 March.
Vice-Chair, Scottish PSC
Find out more about COFIS and GFI, and where SPSC stands: